X Factor – the final countdown

And then there were four. With a dubious elimination last week (Tesco Mary losing out to judges’ darling Cher in a sing-off that took everybody by surprise by its very existance – if you want to find out more, phone Ofcom)

So, the runners and riders for what promises to be a bit of an anti-climax of XXXXXX proportions …

Matt – probably the favourite. Apparently he’s sexy but I don’t see a traditional heartthrob. That was probably Aiden. He’s got a great voice but I think he wants to be a proper muso – not a Simon Cowell puppet releasing Coldplay cover versions. I like him, some of his performances have made me happy but I don’t love him.

Rebecca – she’s from Liverpool and she’s a single Mum. They haven’t overdone the sob stories this year but we have been told repeatedly that “REBECCA YOU’RE A STAR, ALL OF LIVERPOOL IS VOTING FOR YOU”. I don’t know if this means that you can’t vote for Rebecca if you’re not from Liverpool but the local vote might backfire with the casual voter. She has a nice voice, it’s distinctive but it does have a tendancy to go flat. Oh and she can’t dance. If her voice was a little more amazing (like a certain Leona Lewis for example) we could forgive the static performances, but she isn’t that great. Oh dear, it’s not a vintage year is it?!

Wand Erection – yes, OK, I know they are called One Direction but I am childish and it amuses me to call them by the other name. They seem like nice lads, they probably call themselves Wand Erection too. These kids have clearly been groomed for something – probably a short-term cash-in for Cowell. There are five of them. Only two can sing – and even those two are not great – probably why they didn’t get through as soloists. They are “supported” by a pretty boy who can’t sing or dance but who does tick the ethnic box and wins the smouldering fit vote. There are also two other boys who do NOTHING. Literally nothing. One of them is Irish, one of them was stung on the foot by a sea urchin at the judges’ houses stage. And that is all we know about them. They are not given solos, they can’t dance. They are not particularly “fit” (in a Justin Bieber kinda way, don’t think I am judging them as anything other than pre-pubescent boys). Every week, Wand Erection walk onto the stage, Liam (the stroppy one who wants to be a soloist) sings a couple of lines, then Harry (the cute one who looks like he should be a supporting actor in Harry Potter) sings a bit. Then the camera pans out and the chorus kicks in – miraculously around 20 voices join in, with perfect harmonies. If you’re lucky you’ll get a close-up on one of the boys – if he’s lucky he’ll be holding his mic somewhere near his mouth – but chances are his mouth wont be moving in time with the vocals. Yes, they mime. Which is why I can’t bloody stand them.

Cher – the marmite act. She isn’t a very good singer, she is clearly a nasty little girl. But there is something about her that is compelling. I can’t decide whether I admire her spunk or hate her arrogance. Her first audition had something special, and I think we all felt it. But her subsequent performances have been dire. She is (allegedly) a little diva, chucking tantrums when she doesn’t get her own way. We are told we have to let her off because she’s 17. Bullshit. X Factor has entertained a lot of teenagers who have coped with the pressure and shown a maturity beyond MY years, let alone theirs. On the other hand, we’re told Cher’s cultural background is Romany and – inevitably – she has been subject to pathetic digs about this heritage. Had she been a little more gracious she’d have been a bloody amazing ambassador for this much maligned ethnic group. Unfortunately her (again, alleged) behaviour has rather embraced the stereotype. Personally I don’t like her as a “singer” because she isn’t very good. I think she’s better than Wand Erection (so is my cat) but when she sings she goes off key and warbles around the note to cover her inadequacies and her rapping isn’t great. But (that word again), if you’re a pop star you are not judged by the same standards as the musical theatre and cabaret singers Cowell dismisses so readily at the audition stage (adopt condescending tone: “your voice is very musical theatre” – as if that’s a bad thing rather than implying that singer in question could sustain 8 live shows a week without autotune, click tracks, miming, airbrushing etc.) I can’t help but think she’s fallen into the wrong hands – with the right mentor (and by this I’m not suggesting she’d have been better off with Dannii or Louis, I’m thinking she’d have done well with the guidance of Will.i.am and if Cheryl’s genuine, she probably will go on to do so) she could have taken her average voice and her undoubtedly impressive presence and become something with real potential. Unfortunately, right now she’s been hyped beyond belief and who can blame this young girl for believing her own publicity. I feel sorry for her and actually, if she won, I wouldn’t be that upset. Rather Cher than bland, sweet Rebecca. The backlash from last week’s sing-off “scandal” could work against her but equally it could work in Cher’s favour – the people who do like her will be inspired to vote repeatedly, probably more so than Mary fans = more revenue for Simon. He’s not daft is he?!

Did I just write that down?!!!!

So, ultimately, I don’t really care. I think Matt is the stand-out talent in the final four. But Rebecca has the class, Wand Erection have the teen following and Cher has the swagger.

Who wins – Simon Cowell decides …

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